Forty years ago, scientists from 50 nations converged on Geneva to discuss what was then called the “CO2-climate problem.” At the time, with reliance on fossil fuels having helped trigger the 1979 oil crisis, they predicted global warming would eventually become a major environmental challenge.
The scientists got to work, setting forth proposals on how to attack the problem, setting the stage for the eventual creation of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s preeminent body of climate scientists. Their goal was to get ahead of the problem before it was too late. But after a fast start, the fossil fuel industry, politics and the prioritization of economic growth over planetary health slowed them down. Now, four decades later, a larger group of scientists is sounding another, much more urgent alarm.
More than 11,000 experts from around the world are calling for a critical addition to the main strategy of dumping fossil fuels for renewable energy: there needs to be far fewer humans on the planet.
“We declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories frown around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” the scientists wrote in a stark warning published Tuesday in the journal BioScience.